Key messages

  • Victorian Eyecare Service (VES) provides subsidised eyecare at a nominal cost for eligible Victorians.
  • Metropolitan services are available from the Australian College of Optometry (ACO) in Carlton and at six sites in community health services in Melbourne.
  • Rural services are available from private practice optometrists and ophthalmologists.
  • VES is not available in some rural areas. People living in these areas can access metropolitan services provided by the ACO.

The Victorian Eyecare Service (VES) is a statewide eyecare and visual aid service for people experiencing disadvantage or other barriers to accessing eyecare services. VES is available to Victorians who meet the eligibility criteria as outlined below. VES is administered by the Australian College of Optometry (ACO). The ACO coordinates delivery across a range of locations and in partnership with private practice optometrists in rural regions.

Services in Melbourne are available from the college's Carlton site and at some community health services around Melbourne. The ACO website lists service locations. The ACO may be reached by telephone at (03) 9349 7400.

Rural VES is provided by private practice optometrists and ophthalmologists. While VES is not available in all rural locations, all VES eligible Victorians can access metropolitan services provided by the ACO.

VES includes such services as:

  • the Victorian Aboriginal Subsidised Spectacles Scheme
  • outreach to supported residential services, public sector residential aged care facilities, Aboriginal health services, older people public housing, homelessness services, youth justice services, disability services and community health centres that provide refugee and asylum seeker care.

Eligibility criteria

VES is available for the following residents of Victoria:

  • holder of a current health care card for at least least six months
  • holders of a current pension concession card
  • children with Child Protection involvement for their care, such as Out of Home Care
  • people from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander backgrounds (a further subsidy combines with the VES for the Victorian Aboriginal Spectacles Subsidy Scheme)
  • people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds
  • people experiencing financial disadvantage (including people who experience or are at risk of homelessness)
  • people living in rural and remote areas
  • people living in public sector residential aged care, supported residential services, disability accommodation services, youth justice facilities and older person public housing.

In addition, people experiencing other types of disadvantage and barriers to accessing eyecare services may be eligible for VES. Each case that does not fit the eligibility criteria is assessed on a case by case basis by the ACO or through contact with the rural VES office.

Within the target population, VES focusses on groups that may experience difficulty accessing eyecare services.

There is no restriction on access to VES based on residency status or visa type.